On March 10, a march was held in San Salvador against the Central America free trade agreement (AdA, for Acuerdo de Asociación) currently being negotiated with the European Union. Many of the signs carried also called for a repeal of the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Protesters charge the AdA would increase the gap between rich and poor, privatize public services, and legalize the depletion of biodiversity and natural resources. The march, organized by the group Red Sinte Techan, concluded at the Legislative Assembly, where a statement was delivered to lawmakers.
The AdA is similar to CAFTA in that it would remove import taxes from most goods and allow private companies to sue governments for lost investments. Many economists have faulted CAFTA for El Salvador’s economic crisis and the downfall of its agricultural industry. Economist Raul Moreno has also pointed out the danger of CAFTA’s provision that allows companies to sue governments for lost investments. In 2008, a US subsidiary of the Canadian-based Pacific Rim mining company filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) to sue El Salvador for lost investments on a mining project in Cabañas. The lawsuit, which could be filed any day now that the NOI waiting period has expired, would be the first of its type for the country and could potentially cost the government millions of dollars. (CISPES, March 14; Diario CoLatino, San Salvador, March 10)